THE first Iberian lynx cubs of the year have been born in the Doñana National Park.

Four cubs have been born into the Acebuche centre, located in Almonte in the Doñana Nature Reserve, which forms part of the Iberian Lynx Captive Breeding Programme Ex situ.

The female lynx ‘Juromenha’ gave birth to two kittens on Saturday night, March 12, while another two cubs were born early on Sunday morning from the female lynx called ‘Madroña’.

According to reports from the Lynx ex situ programme, the female lynx Juromenha, born in 2012 at the Silves breeding centre in Portugal, went into labour late Saturday evening and the cubs were born at 11pm that same day.

Juromenha, who selected one of the shelters in her enclosure to go into labor and is still there with her two cubs, had been transferred earlier this year to Doñana as part of the gene flow that takes place between breeding centres to maintain the genetic diversity of this species.

A few hours after these first cubs were born, the female lynx Madroña went into labour. This female lynx however, didn’t use one of the shelters as a birthplace, rather a hole that she had dug in one of the corners of her enclosure, meaning that the heavy rain that fell on Saturday night soaked both the mother and cubs, causing considerable concern with the centre’s staff, who monitored the whole process through the video-surveillance system.

Lynx cubs have a lower body temperature in the first weeks after birth as they are not able to regulate their body temperature, fortunately, though Madroña stayed put despite the downpour, she was able to kept her two cubs on her lap while she kept grooming them to keep them dry.

Despite getting drenched, the mother lynx and her kittens are doing well.

It is expected that more cubs will be born at the El Acebuche centre, in the coming weeks.

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